President Donald Trump’s administration is fighting the CIA’s new deputy director Gina Haspel from giving a deposition about her role in the agency’s most severe methods of torture.
Haspel was deposed by James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, who both made millions crafting the CIA’s torture program, The Intercept reported Friday. The ACLU is suing the two men on behalf of three former detainees held in 2002. Haspel is being asked whether the CIA authorized the actions and to provide documents about the matter.
Haspel previously owned the international prison in Thailand in 2002 where the CIA’s first prisoner interrogations took place after the 9/11 attacks. She then helped cover up the abuse of detainees, destroying 92 videotapes of the interrogations. At the time, the U.S. Senate had told her not to.
She’s not directly mentioned by name in the Senate’s torture report but what happened to those in her prison is. One man was waterboarded until he was “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” The interrogation was heralded by Mitchell and Jessen as the example to follow.
The government claimed having Haspel testify would reveal “state secrets” and that her involvement couldn’t be confirmed or denied. The ACLU isn’t even seeking to have Haspel answer questions because they believe it doesn’t hold any bearing on the two men on trial.
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama also tried to use the “secrets privilege” to block lawsuits for torture.
As of today, no survivor of torture at the hands of the United States has been given any compensation for their treatment.